Environmental ethics

Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world. It exerts influence on a large range of disciplines including environmental law, environmental sociology, ecotheology, ecological economics, ecology and environmental geography.

Environmental ethics is a relatively new area of applied ethics. Therefore, some terms are still used differently. For example, environmental ethics is often referred to as ecological ethics or, erroneously, as environmental philosophy. Important areas of environmental ethics are

the animal ethics, dealing with the moral verantwortbaren handling of animals is concerned;
the natural ethics of dealing with biological units such as populations, species, biotopes, ecosystems or landscapes;
the environmental ethics in the narrower sense, which deals with the handling of natural resources and environmental media (for example, water, soil, climate, genetic diversity).

Various positions
A central question of environmental ethics is which being or things should be given an intrinsic value, and which beings are therefore to be considered for their own sake. There are different positions for this. Basically, a distinction can be made between anthropocentrism and physiocentrism. In the former, only man as being is relevant; Physiocentrism also includes the wider nature. While the so-called pathocentrism ascribes an intrinsic value to all pain-sensitive beings, biocentrism and eco-centrism or holism go one step furtherFurthermore. In biocentrism all living beings are regarded as morally valuable, in holism additionally not even individual entities of nature (eg species, ecosystems or the biosphere in their entirety). Anthropocentric positions take into account the morally relevant interests of people, who may include future generations. An important anthropocentric position is natural aesthetics, which attaches great importance to human interest in the aesthetic value of nature.

There are many ethical decisions that human beings make with respect to the environment. For example:

Should humans continue to clear cut forests for the sake of human consumption?
Why should humans continue to propagate its species, and life itself?
Should humans continue to make gasoline-powered vehicles?
What environmental obligations do humans need to keep for future generations?
Is it right for humans to knowingly cause the extinction of a species for the convenience of humanity?
How should humans best use and conserve the space environment to secure and expand life?
What role can Planetary Boundaries play in reshaping the human-earth relationship?

The academic field of environmental ethics grew up in response to the works of Rachel Carson and Murray Bookchin and events such as the first Earth Day in 1970, when environmentalists started urging philosophers to consider the philosophical aspects of environmental problems. Two papers published in Science had a crucial impact: Lynn White’s “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis” (March 1967) and Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons” (December 1968). Also influential was Garett Hardin’s later essay called “Exploring New Ethics for Survival”, as well as an essay by Aldo Leopold in his A Sand County Almanac, called “The Land Ethic,” in which Leopold explicitly claimed that the roots of the ecological crisis were philosophical (1949).

The first international academic journals in this field emerged from North America in the late 1970s and early 1980s – the US-based journal Environmental Ethics in 1979 and the Canadian-based journal The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy in 1983. The first British based journal of this kind, Environmental Values, was launched in 1992.

Marshall’s categories
Some scholars have tried to categorise the various ways the natural environment is valued. Alan Marshall and Michael Smith are two examples of this, as cited by Peter Vardy in “The Puzzle of Ethics”. According to Marshall, three general ethical approaches have emerged over the last 40 years: Libertarian Extension, the Ecologic Extension and Conservation Ethics.

Libertarian extension
Marshall’s Libertarian extension echoes a civil liberty approach (i.e. a commitment to extend equal rights to all members of a community). In environmentalism, though, the community is generally thought to consist of non-humans as well as humans.

Andrew Brennan was an advocate of ecologic humanism (eco-humanism), the argument that all ontological entities, animate and in-animate, can be given ethical worth purely on the basis that they exist. The work of Arne Næss and his collaborator Sessions also falls under the libertarian extension, although they preferred the term “deep ecology”. Deep ecology is the argument for the intrinsic value or inherent worth of the environment – the view that it is valuable in itself. Their argument, incidentally, falls under both the libertarian extension and the ecologic extension.

Peter Singer’s work can be categorized under Marshall’s ‘libertarian extension’. He reasoned that the “expanding circle of moral worth” should be redrawn to include the rights of non-human animals, and to not do so would be guilty of speciesism. Singer found it difficult to accept the argument from intrinsic worth of a-biotic or “non-sentient” (non-conscious) entities, and concluded in his first edition of “Practical Ethics” that they should not be included in the expanding circle of moral worth. This approach is essentially then, bio-centric. However, in a later edition of “Practical Ethics” after the work of Næss and Sessions, Singer admits that, although unconvinced by deep ecology, the argument from intrinsic value of non-sentient entities is plausible, but at best problematic. Singer advocated a humanist ethics.

Ecologic extension
Alan Marshall’s category of ecologic extension places emphasis not on human rights but on the recognition of the fundamental interdependence of all biological (and some abiological) entities and their essential diversity. Whereas Libertarian Extension can be thought of as flowing from a political reflection of the natural world, ecologic extension is best thought of as a scientific reflection of the natural world. Ecological Extension is roughly the same classification of Smith’s eco-holism, and it argues for the intrinsic value inherent in collective ecological entities like ecosystems or the global environment as a whole entity. Holmes Rolston, among others, has taken this approach.

This category might include James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis; the theory that the planet earth alters its geo-physiological structure over time in order to ensure the continuation of an equilibrium of evolving organic and inorganic matter. The planet is characterized as a unified, holistic entity with ethical worth of which the human race is of no particular significance in the long run.

Conservation ethics
Marshall’s category of ‘conservation ethics’ is an extension of use-value into the non-human biological world. It focuses only on the worth of the environment in terms of its utility or usefulness to humans. It contrasts the intrinsic value ideas of ‘deep ecology’, hence is often referred to as ‘shallow ecology’, and generally argues for the preservation of the environment on the basis that it has extrinsic value – instrumental to the welfare of human beings. Conservation is therefore a means to an end and purely concerned with mankind and inter-generational considerations. It could be argued that it is this ethic that formed the underlying arguments proposed by Governments at the Kyoto summit in 1997 and three agreements reached in Rio in 1992.

Humanist theories
Peter Singer advocated the preservation of “world heritage sites,” unspoilt parts of the world that acquire a “scarcity value” as they diminish over time. Their preservation is a bequest for future generations as they have been inherited from human’s ancestors and should be passed down to future generations so they can have the opportunity to decide whether to enjoy unspoilt countryside or an entirely urban landscape. A good example of a world heritage site would be the tropical rainforest, a very specialist ecosystem that has taken centuries to evolve. Clearing the rainforest for farmland often fails due to soil conditions, and once disturbed, can take thousands of years to regenerate.

Applied theology
The Christian world view sees the universe as created by God, and humankind accountable to God for the use of the resources entrusted to humankind. Ultimate values are seen in the light of being valuable to God. This applies both in breadth of scope – caring for people (Matthew 25) and environmental issues, e.g. environmental health (Deuteronomy 22.8; 23.12-14) – and dynamic motivation, the love of Christ controlling (2 Corinthians 5.14f) and dealing with the underlying spiritual disease of sin, which shows itself in selfishness and thoughtlessness. In many countries this relationship of accountability is symbolised at harvest thanksgiving. (B.T. Adeney: Global Ethics in New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology 1995 Leicester)

Abrahamic religious scholars have used theology to motivate the public. John L. O’Sullivan, who coined the term Manifest destiny, and other influential people like him used Abrahamic ideologies to encourage action. These religious scholars, columnists and politicians historically have used these ideas and continue to do so to justify the consumptive tendencies of a young America around the time of the Industrial Revolution. In order to solidify the understanding that God had intended for humankind to use earths natural resources, environmental writers and religious scholars alike proclaimed that humans are separate from nature, on a higher order. Those that may critique this point of view may ask the same question that John Muir asks ironically in a section of his novel A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, why are there so many dangers in the natural world in the form of poisonous plants, animals and natural disasters, The answer is that those creatures are a result of Adam and Eve’s sins in the garden of Eden.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the application of theology in environmentalism diverged into two schools of thought. The first system of understanding holds religion as the basis of environmental stewardship. The second sees the use of theology as a means to rationalize the unmanaged consumptions of natural resources. Lynn White and Calvin DeWitt represent each side of this dichotomy.

John Muir personified nature as an inviting place away from the loudness of urban centers. “For Muir and the growing number of Americans who shared his views, Satan’s home had become God’s Own Temple.” The use of Abrahamic religious allusions assisted Muir and the Sierra Club to create support for some of the first public nature preserves.

Authors like Terry Tempest Williams as well as John Muir build on the idea that “…God can be found wherever you are, especially outside. Family worship was not just relegated to Sunday in a chapel.” References like these assist the general public to make a connection between paintings done at the Hudson River School, Ansel Adams’ photographs, along with other types of media, and their religion or spirituality. Placing intrinsic value upon nature through theology is a fundamental idea of Deep ecology.

Anthropocentrism is the position that humans are the most important or critical element in any given situation; that the human race must always be its own primary concern. Detractors of anthropocentrism argue that the Western tradition biases homo sapiens when considering the environmental ethics of a situation and that humans evaluate their environment or other organisms in terms of the utility for them (see speciesism). Many argue that all environmental studies should include an assessment of the intrinsic value of non-human beings. In fact, based on this very assumption, a philosophical article has explored recently the possibility of humans’ willing extinction as a gesture toward other beings. The authors refer to the idea as a thought experiment that should not be understood as a call for action.

Baruch Spinoza reasoned that if humans were to look at things objectively, they would discover that everything in the universe has a unique value. Likewise, it is possible that a human-centred or anthropocentric/androcentric ethic is not an accurate depiction of reality, and there is a bigger picture that humans may or may not be able to understand from a human perspective.

Peter Vardy distinguished between two types of anthropocentrism. A strong anthropocentric ethic argues that humans are at the center of reality and it is right for them to be so. Weak anthropocentrism, however, argues that reality can only be interpreted from a human point of view, thus humans have to be at the centre of reality as they see it.

Another point of view has been developed by Bryan Norton, who has become one of the essential actors of environmental ethics by launching environmental pragmatism, now one of its leading trends. Environmental pragmatism refuses to take a stance in disputes between defenders of anthropocentrist and non-anthropocentrist ethics. Instead, Norton distinguishes between strong anthropocentrism and weak-or-extended-anthropocentrism and argues that the former must underestimate the diversity of instrumental values humans may derive from the natural world.

A recent view relates anthropocentrism to the future of life. Biotic ethics are based on the human identity as part of gene/protein organic life whose effective purpose is self-propagation. This implies a human purpose to secure and propagate life. Humans are central because only they can secure life beyond the duration of the Sun, possibly for trillions of eons. Biotic ethics values life itself, as embodied in biological structures and processes. Humans are special because they can secure the future of life on cosmological scales. In particular, humans can continue sentient life that enjoys its existence, adding further motivation to propagate life. Humans can secure the future of life, and this future can give human existence a cosmic purpose.

Major environmental ethics

Biocentrism (or biocentric ethics) is opposed to “human chauvinism” and the ” anthropocentric ” position of giving moral dignity to human beings and of viewing nature only as “a set of resources”. according to Catherine Larrère. This position is for example that of Kant, which admits of intrinsic value as human beings and not for lacking because.

On the contrary, biocentrism thinks that living beings have intrinsic value and are worthy of moral consideration. Its starting point for showing this is that organizations seek to maintain their own existence, they use means to an end. Living beings are defined as functional equivalents of “sets of intentional acts”. The American philosopher Holmes Rolston III III is the defender of such ethics. Biocentrism can be summarized as follows: “Every living individual is, on an equal footing with all others, worthy of moral consideration”. Paul Tayloris also an important representative of biocentrism and insists on the notion of intrinsic value, a concept also present in Hans Jonas.

Biocentrism ranks among ethical ethics since it is based on “respect for nature”, and poses the problems of environmental ethics in terms of moral principles. Christopher J. Preston argues that thinking in terms of intrinsic values “motivates” environmental activists, especially Earth First!, Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society. The Convention on Biological Diversity of Rio de Janeiro in 1992 states in its article “the intrinsic value of biodiversity”, according to Catherine Larrère, a direct influence of biocentrism on the political and legal treatment of environmental issues.

Biocentrism is not necessarily opposed to any human intervention on nature. It requires, however, that any intervention that sacrifices a living being be justified, and that the benefit be demonstrated. Biocentrism is the protection of species and results, since it is based on a moral principle, by prohibitions (eg personal sampling of a component of a species).However, biocentrism must face two objections: first, the practice forces us to choose between several possible scenarios and to prioritize values, while biocentrism wants to treat every living being equally. Finally, “protect nature”involves taking into account the ecosystem which includes the non-living and living as people and not as an individual. However, biocentrism does not take into account the non-living and it is an individualistic ethic.

The founder of the ecocentrism (in) (or ecocentric ethics) in environmental ethics is Aldo Leopold, philosopher and Ranger American, author of A Sand County Almanac (1949, posthumous). Leopold invents the concept of “biotic community” to designate the whole formed by the living, human and non-human, and the environment. Unlike biocentrism, which is an individualistic ethic, ecocentrism is a holistic ethic. The valueis not attributed to separated beings, but to the whole in which beings are interdependent. Leopold uses the image of the “mountain” to symbolize that: from a mountain point of view, wolves are useful because they prevent overgrazing. Hunters and farmers have therefore wrong according Leopold want to exterminate wolves.

Leopold’s vision is called “Land Ethic”. It is contemporary with the constitution of ecology as science, which teaches us the interdependence of living beings. The philosopher John Baird Callicott analyzes the scientific references of this ethic and identifies three main ones: the evolution of Charles Darwin, the scientific ecology and the astronomy of Nicolas Copernicus.

Leopold gives the following definition of just:

“One thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is unfair when it tends to reverse. ”

However, this definition of the right depends closely on the ecological conceptions of his time, which think in terms of “balances of nature”, whereas contemporary ecology thinks in terms of disturbances, according to Patrick Blandin. John Baird Callicott proposes to rectify the definition of Leopold, he writes:

“One thing is right when it tends to disturb the biotic community only on normal time and space scales. It is unfair when it tends to reverse”

For Leopold, the Land Ethic merges with ecology. Catherine Larrère describes it as an “evolutionary ethic” because it is linked to the emergence of “social behaviors” identified by Darwin in La filiation de l’homme. Leopold wants in his masterpiece to awaken feelings of belonging and proximity of human beings with the biotic community. This approach in terms of feelings is, according Callicott, continuing ethics of David Hume and Adam Smith (Theory of Moral Sentiments). Contrary to a binary vision of social relations which summarily opposes selfishness to altruism, ecocentrism uses a broad spectrum of relations: “predation, rivalry, parasitism, mutualism, symbiosis, cooperation…”. Ultimately, ecocentrism does not belong to ethical ethics such as biocentrism, which thinks in terms of universal norms and prohibitions, but consequentialist ethics. Ecocentrism takes as a significant moral criterion “effects on the biotic community”. The ecologist is not the one who does not intervene on the naturebut one who is aware of his intervention and its consequences on it. Leopold writes that “an ecologist is someone who is aware, humbly, that with each stroke of the ax, he inscribes his signature on the surface of the earth”.

Ecocentrism faces a main objection, according to Catherine Larrère: since it is a holistic ethic that only takes into account the whole, it risks “sacrificing individuals for the common good”, even the human beings. humans to other species, since human activity is the primary source of degradation in the biotic community.

Deep ecology
The deep ecology is a contemporary environmentalist philosophy, characterized by the defense of the intrinsic value of living beings and nature, that is to say a value independent of their usefulness to humans.

It attributes more value to species and different ecosystems than conventional ecological movements, which leads to the development of an environmental ethic. Whereas classical ecology, while developing new alternatives, always posits the satisfaction of human needs as a goal (anthropocentrism) and attributes to the rest of the living the status of “resource”, deep ecology re-inscribes human goals in a broader perspective, that of the living (biocentrism) to take into account the needs of the entire biosphere, including species with which the human line has coevolved for thousands of years.

The eco-feminism is a philosophy, an ethical one and a movement born of the conjunction and union currents of thoughts feministsand environmentalists.

According to this movement, notably championed by Vandana Shiva, who founded a wild biodiversity sanctuary in India in Uttarakhand, where women have an essential place, there are similarities and common causes of domination behaviors. and women’s oppression and non-respect of nature, which contribute to environmental rampage.

The ecotheology (English: ecotheology) is a form of theology constructive that focuses on the relationship of religion and kind, especially in light of the concerns environmental. Ecotheology generally starts from the premise that there is a relationship between the religious and spiritual visions of humans and the degradation of nature. It explores the interaction between ecological values, such as sustainability, and the human domination of nature. The movement has produced many religious-environmental projects around the world.

The outbreak of awareness of the environmental crisis has led to religious reflection on man’s relationship with the land. This reflection has strong precedents in most religious traditions in the fields of ethics and cosmology, and can be seen as a subset or a corollary of the theology of nature.

It is important to keep in mind that ecotheology explores not only the relationship between religion and nature in terms of degradation of nature, but also in terms of ecosystem management in general. More specifically, ecotheology seeks not only to identify the main problems in the relationship between nature and religion, but also to propose possible solutions. This is especially important because many supporters and contributors to support ecotheology that science and education are simply not sufficient to inspire change necessary in our current environmental crisis.

The pragmatism in environmental ethics does not absolutely refuse the anthropocentrism, unlike biocentrism and the ecocentrism. He argues that the instrumental value is not always opposed to intrinsic value, and is not always synonymous with destruction or operating. The naturalist for example has an interest in that species continue to exist, as recalled Stephen Jay Gould. Whoever seeks the subjective experience of the sublime in the Kantian sense, in the contemplation of nature, has an interest that it is preserved. So, pragmatists like Bryan G. Norton and EC support Hargrove anthropocentrism “expanded” for the first and “low” for the second, thus distinguishing itself from anthropocentrism reducing.

Pragmatism rejects the metaphysical presuppositions of intrinsic value: it is, according to them, a monistic and solitary conception of value. This would be unique, and depends on a research on the basis of morality, that will not be accepted by the greatest number. Pragmatism emphasizes the plurality and relational character of values, which must be brought to light in context. For example, the scarcity or abundance of a plant in a given medium changes its value the.

The pragmatist environmental ethic inspired the founding fathers of pragmatism to the xix th century: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey. Pragmatism promotes reasoned discussion and a democratic approach. Environmental pragmatists believe that the plurality of theories and visions does not prevent convergence toward the same goal, and consensus about what needs to be done. On the contrary, they think that the metaphysical search for a theory that would necessarily win acceptance is rather a sectarian approach. However, there is an objection to pragmatism in environmental ethics:”The main lesson of not anthropocentric ethical”, that is to say the idea that non-humans are ends in themselves.

Practical applications

The practical application of environmental ethics is an understanding of the convergence of cycles and ecological systems of species. For the human species, it is in the adaptation of cultures that the applications are to be developed. In practical terms, the ecological footprint represents the individual and collective assessment to be measured for the proposed activities, projects and development orientations.

In the case of cultures of ideology, the practical application of the philosophical principles of environmental ethics imposes the question of a level sought or sought for quality, and therefore the question of the original natural state the environment in question; both from the point of view of the physical and ecosystem aspects and from the ethical point of view: what living beings live or should live in this environment, with what impacts on it, what “legitimacy”, or even necessity, to stay there? on which surfaces ?, etc. This is the field of naturalness that begins to be exploited with scientific tools (retrospective ecology, maps of potentiality and naturalness, importance of the functional aspects of ecosystem relations, including feedback loops between climate and biodiversity).

For a company and its social responsibility we see that the fine analysis of the spatial and temporal context is very important. The so-called industrial ecology domain may include an ethical dimension, but not necessarily (it may be a simple matter of more rational management by ensuring that the waste of a process becomes a source of energy or energy. However, the emergence of ecosociolabels (eg FSC in the field of wood / paper and forest, or MSC for fisheries) shows a growing interest of some actors in the transparent consideration of ethical principles in the trade and management of natural resources, including respect for the rights, knowledge and living conditions of indigenous peoples.

This question stems from the assumption that on the one hand the environment and on the other hand “the life that inhabits it” (or usually frequents it) co-construct, benefit one another, or all less do not harm each other, either: support each other harmoniously.

Domains concerned
The biophysical and human domains of the environment constitute a denominator of the three pillars of reasonable sustainable development (with the economic, the ecological and the social). They date back to the wider and at the highest level of concern ethics, on topics such as governance comprehensive global local, justice, the organization of state and local authorities, the education, culture and the management of companies.

Given the current and potential negative impacts of many human activities on the environment, health and human security, the field of environmental ethics opens up areas of application in both cultures and the human sciences. and in the field of technologies (nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, cloning, digital technologies). In France, institutes such as the CNRS or INRIA themselves recommended in 2011 the creation of a multidisciplinary ethics committee on research in computational science and technology including.

Status of the field
Only after 1990 did the field gain institutional recognition at programs such as Colorado State University, the University of Montana, Bowling Green State University, and the University of North Texas. In 1991, Schumacher College of Dartington, England, was founded and now provides an MSc in Holistic Science.

These programs began to offer a master’s degree with a specialty in environmental ethics/philosophy. Beginning in 2005 the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas offered a PhD program with a concentration in environmental ethics/philosophy.

In Germany, the University of Greifswald has recently established an international program in Landscape Ecology & Nature Conservation with a strong focus on environmental ethics. In 2009, the University of Munich and Deutsches Museum founded the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, an international, interdisciplinary center for research and education in the environmental humanities.

Ethical principles
The 25 ethical principles proposed (not retained for the moment) in Nagoya in 2010

Respect for existing laws and regulations
Intellectual property
No discrimination
Transparency / Full Disclosure
Approval & Prior Informed Consent (which must not be “coerced, forced, or manipulated”).
Intercultural respect
Protection of property (collective or individual)
Fair and equitable sharing of benefits
Precautionary approach (already highlighted in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development)
Recognition of sacred sites, sites of cultural significance and lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities. “Sparsely populated lands and waters should not be considered deserted, as they may be lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and / or local communities. ”
Access to traditional resources (Indigenous and local communities should determine for themselves the nature and extent of their own rights regime over resources, according to their customary law (s)). (…) Activities / interactions should not affect access to traditional resources unless approved by the community concerned. Activities / interactions should respect customary rules governing access to resources when required by the community concerned
Prohibition of arbitrary displacement (for reasons of nature protection)
Traditional stewardship / guardianship (this article views indigenous and local communities as stewards and stewards of local ecosystems, and urges them to “actively participate in the management of lands and waters that they traditionally occupy or use, including sacred sites and protected areas Indigenous and local communities may also consider certain species of plants and animals as sacred and, as stewards of biodiversity, be responsible for their welfare and viability “.
Recognition of the social structures of indigenous and local communities – extended families, communities and indigenous nations
Compensation and / or compensation (of indigenous and local communities in case of damage to their heritage and natural resources)
Repatriation (information needed to facilitate the recovery of traditional knowledge related to biodiversity).
Peaceful relations (between indigenous and local communities and local or national governments, as part of activities / interactions related to the conservation or sustainable use of biological diversity, with the establishment of “dispute resolution and grievances adapted to cultural and national realities if necessary “.
Research: Indigenous and local communities should be given the opportunity to participate actively in research that concerns them or their traditional knowledge, in relation to the objectives of the Convention, to define their research projects and priorities, to carry out their own research. research, including establishing their research institutes, and promoting the strengthening of cooperation, capacity and skills.
Negotiations in good faith
Subsidiarity and decision-making
Partnership and cooperation to “support, maintain and ensure the sustainable use of biological diversity and traditional knowledge. ”
Gender Parity (to “reflect the critical role of indigenous and local women in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity”
Full participation / participatory approach
Confidentiality of information provided by indigenous or local populations, and resources, including “in the case of sacred and / or secret information. People working with indigenous and local communities need to know that notions such as “the public domain” may be foreign to the culture of indigenous and local communities.

None of the conclusions of conservation reasons are compelling because they are only obvious to their alternatives. These conservation reasons are not sufficient to solve the ecological problems, and from them no direct conservation objectives can be derived. In practice, however, they provide citizens with the necessary justifications and insights that can be discussed and implemented at the political-legal and casuistic levels of the individual case. However, environmental ethics does not replace social and active movements and without them would amount to an isolated specialized discourse.

Although environmental ethics can not provide ultimate proof of the intrinsic value of nature, it offers a whole range of different arguments that speak in favor of a careful approach to nature and the environment (see also: Argument of the last person). Last but not least, here are obligations to future generations and natural aesthetic arguments. It differs from the environmental philosophy in that it provides explanatory models, but no guidelines for action.

Environmental ethics have come under significant criticism. Luc Ferry condemns their supposed ” fascism ” in The New Ecological Order on the grounds that they would authorize “the sacrifice of individuals to the community”. Ferry in particular takes on the deep ecology (deep ecology).

The environmental ethics, including the ethics of wilderness are sometimes accused of being misanthropic, against humanity or killjoy.

Weakening of human rights
Yan Thomas criticizes environmental ethics for weakening “pre-existing human rights while creating as many and formidable competitors” in an article entitled “The subject of rights, the person and nature”.

Integration with existing morals
Catherine Larrère raises the problem of integrating environmental ethics into “existing moral theories”. She wonders what place they can be given. To solve this question, Frank de Roose and Philippe Van Parijs make the following proposition: to reserve to the private sphere the validity of environmental ethics, like religious convictions. They equate respect for nature with respect for the divine commandmentsin a community of believers. They are the subject of a private ethics belong to the determination of the meaning of life and are the source of personal commitments, but can not be imposed in the public sphere of society.